[tlhIngan Hol] why we shouldn't do transcriptions

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Feb 27 13:42:22 PST 2020

On 2/27/2020 4:19 PM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
> Am 27.02.2020 um 21:19 schrieb Hugh Son puqloD:
> > But for the purposes of comprehension *within the text itself*, it
> > doesn’t matter what they’re called as long as they’re called the same
> > thing every time they are mentioned.
> And here is another problem: How can it be controlled that a name is
> constantly transcribed the same way?

It doesn't have to be. As long as it's consistent within the text, it's 
fine. And if a transliteration becomes especially popular, it will 
become accepted as the standard transliteration — not necessarily 
"right," just "standard."

> The bible translation project is a
> good example where the same names are currently indeed transcribed
> differently. I am not an expert of religion, so is {yeSuS} the same
> person as {yeSuwa}?

Yes. One is a transliteration of the name from Greek, the other a 
transliteration of the name from Hebrew. The Greek name is itself a 
transliteration and modification of the Hebrew name, which is itself a 
variant of an earlier name.

> I they are not, why is the seceond part of their
> name {'IHrIStoS} in both cases? And if so, who is the person named
> {QIStuS}? Even within an obviously clear situation, it is not clear at 
> all.

The name /Christ/ and its origins are more complicated, because the name 
was not meant to be a surname; it means /messiah./ As time went on, the 
name came to be viewed more as a surname or second name. So to translate 
the name /Jesus Christ,/ one has to decide whether one is going to 
translate /messiah/ or transliterate /Χριστός, משיח, //Christos,/ or 

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to translations and 
names. You have to consider your audience and purpose.

How, for instance, would you translate the name /Bilbo Baggins/ into 
Klingon? Well, one way would be to transliterate: *bIlbo be'ghInIS.* But 
wait! Tolkien left notes for translators of /The Lord of the Rings/ on 
how to deal with all sorts of names.

    /Baggins./ Intended to recall 'bag'—compare Bilbo's conversation
    with Smaug in /The Hobbit/—and meant to be associated (by hobbits)
    with /Bag End/ (that is, the end of a 'bag' or 'pudding bag' =
    cul-de-sac), the local name for Bilbo's house. (It was the local
    name for my aunt's farm in Worcestershire, which was at the end of a
    lane leading to it and no further). Compare also
    /Sackville-Baggins./ The translation should contain an element
    meaning 'sack, bag'.

So a translator honoring Tolkien will probably call the character *bIlbo 
buq'InIS* or something like that, to put *buq* in there. Not something 
you'd necessarily think of without guidance. Then there's the village 
name /Bywater./ He says "Translate by sense." You wouldn't transliterate 
as *bay'water;* you'd call it *bIQDaq.*

But a translator of the Bible doesn't have the author's notes on how to 
translate names. So one must come up with one's own style guide. It 
doesn't really matter what it is, so long as you're consistent. If there 
are accepted standards in translated literature, you'd be well served to 
do what they did, but it's not a requirement.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer.


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